Why I am Jealous of Trees
Jealousy is a terrible emotion. Next to anger, it is probably one of the most undesirable emotions, and the source of many problems. Unfortunately, jealousy is an emotion that all human beings are subject to at one point or another. There are many sources of jealousy, but it almost always originates with other people. People who have skills and abilities that you do not.
At its core, jealousy comes from the simple sentiment that life is not fair, but it should be. This idea seems reasonable enough, but falls apart easily. Any observant person can plainly see the world is not a fair place. This does not mean we shouldn’t strive to make it better, but the idea of a perfect world is a fairy-tale, better suited for entertaining fiction than a philosophy of life. When people focus on the things they cannot gain, they fail to appreciate what they have.
It would be nice if there was no jealousy in the world. That idea is a fairy-tale as well, and would probably lead to unexpected problems. It is a fact that humans must sometimes experience emotions we would rather not. However, if we have no choice but to have irrational emotions, we might as well try to direct them toward irrational targets.
Rather than being jealous of people who might retaliate in some way, we could direct our jealousy toward inanimate objects like video game characters or monster trucks. Video game characters always have a clear objective and monster trucks are able to smash anything that gets in their way. Who wouldn’t be jealous of that? By being jealous of inanimate objects, and not people with emotions and the will to respond, the power of jealousy will be taken away. It goes from seeming reasonable to ridiculous.
I have always been jealous of trees. This is something I wish I had realized years ago, before I wasted so much energy being jealous of other people. No matter how many skills, things, or other traits a person has that make them a target of envy, they will never exist as easily as a tree does. All that is expected of a tree is to stand in one place and bask in the sun. They never have the need to go to the grocery store, because they make their own food. They never have to go anywhere else, because they can’t move.
I am the most jealous of trees because they get to stay in the same place through the many years of their long lives. They never need to leave their home behind or challenge themselves in a new environment. Despite their lack of mobility, trees can grow taller and more majestic than any human. They live longer, too.
The fact remains: I am not a tree, and never can be. Even if I could somehow become one, I don’t believe I would be happy. It would be nice for the first half-century or so, standing in silence with nothing to do, but I would eventually get incredibly bored. Maybe I could do it if I was a tree with an internal hard drive and Internet access.
Mostly, I could not be a tree because when faced with chainsaws or fire, they are able to meet their destiny without protest. I do not have that much dignity, and would hate to be turned into firewood.